Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Kershaw, Trout heating up SoCal
(Clockwise from top left) Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro are this week's hottest pitchers and hitters.
Tanaka went 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA in five starts from May 25-June 17. The right-hander allowed just 25 hits, six runs (five earned) and struck out 40 in the span. He earned victories in eight of nine starts from May 3-June 17. His 11 wins lead the majors. He’s 11-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 113 strikeouts this season.
NL — Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw went 5-1 with a 1.50 ERA in six starts from May 23-June 18. The left-hander struck out a career-high 15 and retired the first 18 batters he faced in throwing a 107-pitch no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies in the final start of the span. He went at least seven innings in four of five starts from May 28-June 18. He’s 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA with 86 strikeouts this season.
Trout hit .480 (12 for 25) with four home runs and nine RBI in six games from June 13-19. He had three games with three hits in the span, including a 3-for-5 day with two home runs and four RBI in a victory over the Cleveland Indians on June 17. He has hit .377 with five home runs and 16 RBI in June. Overall, he has hit .311 with 16 home runs and 54 RBI this season.
NL — Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
Castro hit .480 (12 for 25) with two home runs and eight RBI in six games from June 13-18. He had three games with three hits in the span, his best day coming in a 3-for-5 effort with two RBI in a victory over the Miami Marlins on June 18. He hit safely in seven consecutive games from June 12-18 and 11 of 12 contests from June 7-18. He has hit .291 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI this season.
AL — Kansas City Royals
The Royals won six of seven games from June 13-19. The six consecutive victories from June 13-18 were part of a larger run that included 10 consecutive victories from June 7-18. Before the streak, the Royals had not won that many games without a loss since claiming 14 straight in 1994. They lead the American League Central with a 39-33 record, a half game better than the Detroit Tigers.
NL — Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies won five of seven games from June 13-19. The run included four consecutive victories from June 16-19. From June 10-19, they went 8-2 after losing eight of nine games from May 31-June 8. They scored at least four runs in each of their victories from June 14-19. At 33-38, they trail the Washington Nationals by four games for the National League East lead.
(Clockwise from top left) Detroit’s Justin Verlander, Miami’s Nathan Eovaldi, Cleveland’s David Murphy and San Diego’s Will Venable are this week’s coldest pitchers and hitters.
AL — Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Verlander went 1-4 with a 7.96 ERA in five starts from May 25-June 16. The right-hander allowed 32 runs (28 earned), 44 hits and 14 walks in the span. He lost five of six starts from May 20-June 16, and he last won consecutive appearances when he won three straight from April 12-22. He’s 6-7 with a 4.98 ERA and 41 walks this season.
Eovaldi went 0-1 with a 9.28 ERA in starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 13 and Chicago Cubs on June 18. The right-hander allowed 11 runs, 19 hits and one walk in 10 2/3 innings. The Marlins lost four consecutive games in his starts from June 1-18. He’s 4-3 with a 3.76 ERA and 16 walks this season.
AL — David Murphy, Cleveland Indians
Murphy hit .050 (1 for 20) with three strikeouts in six games from June 13-19. His lone hit in the span came when he went 1 for 4 in a loss to the Boston Red Sox on June 13. His five-game hitting slump from June 14-19 marked his worst of the season. He has hit .264 with five home runs and 38 RBI this season.
NL — Will Venable, San Diego Padres
Venable hit .100 (2 for 20) with four strikeouts in six games from June 13-19. He was held hitless four times in the span. He has hit .171 with one RBI and nine strikeouts in June, a decline from his May average of .235 with eight RBI. He has hit .205 with two home runs and 11 RBI this season.
AL — Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays lost four of six games from June 13-19. The skid is part of a larger slide that includes a 3-9 record from June 7-19. They allowed 16 runs in three games against the New York Yankees in being swept from June 17-19. At 41-33, they lead the American League East by 1 1/2 games over the Yankees, but Toronto hasn’t been this close to a .500 record since standing 32-24 after play May 30.
NL — San Francisco Giants
The Giants lost five consecutive games from June 13-18, their worst losing streak of the season. From June 9-18, they went 1-8, a stretch that included losing three of four games against the Washington Nationals, three straight against the Colorado Rockies and two straight against the Chicago White Sox. They allowed at least five runs in each loss from June 13-18. They lead the National League West with a 43-29 record, but their edge over the Los Angeles Dodgers has been cut to four games.
Baseball lost another great in Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre, on June 16. The world was robbed of the Hall of Famer’s vibrant personality much too soon after his extended fight with salivary gland cancer ended at age 54. He was an artist at the plate who earned 3,141 hits in a career that produced eight National League batting titles and seven Silver Slugger awards. We’ll miss that smile. We’ll miss that laugh. We’ll miss that impact on the field and off it. Mr. Padre, you were one of a kind.